Wednesday assorted links

1. Markets in everything: Sol LeWitt sports bra.  And there is no great stagnation.

2. Canadian documentary about Jordan Peterson.  Covers gnosticism, the Heideggerian side, Jung, etc.  Not so much about the anti-PC stuff or the personality psychology.

3. Virtual reality gyms.

4. Chetty’s on-line Stanford class.

5. The drone wars heat up, this time in Syria and against Russia.

6. Dylan Matthews on Auten and Splinter and inequality debates.


Those Russian airplanes at that base have sent 1000's of jihadis straight to hell. Putin is the protector of Syrian Christians

And the Alawite Bashar Hafez al-Assad, of course.

I deplore Putin because I wish that Russia was, you know, frankly, more like Switzerland than like Turkey. And Putin is a major obstacle to Russia becoming Western (independent judiciary, rule of law, trusted institutions and practices, such as fair and free elections etc.).

But his ridiculous adventure in Middle Eastern meddling certainly accomplishes a lot: deflects from criticism at home, cocks a snook at the Yanks, advertises a lot of solid but second tier military stuff (moves product), and signals to vicious dictators that he'll support them when no one else will. Maybe one can add: makes an ally of the Iranians, and gets some troops combat experience.

If you think he's doing this out of any pro Christian sentiment I suggest you are mistaken.

Russia will never become 'Western'. Only idiot Yanks could believe otherwise.

Also, I wouldn't call this '2nd Tier Military stuff': Its better than anything the US has, and the US was very careful to avoid these in Syria.

Last, 'Middle Eastern Meddling': you've got the wrong country! Again!

Exactly. Putin does not have any overarching ideology, just tactics in service of the state and his hold on power.

Re #4 - The chart half way down the page that says that 58% of US bachelor degrees in STEM were awarded to women. This is shocking to me and seems to totally contradict all the talk about under-representation of women in STEM. Am I missing something?

The majority of college entrants are women, and by graduation the margin is even larger. 58% of STEM degrees may just be par for the course.

It can't be right.

Misreading - the chart refers to PhDs, not bachelors. In many STEM fields, doctorates are not required for practice within the field, but strongly encouraged for those in academia. It also depends somewhat on where you draw the circle around STEM, particularly if you include medicine and count an MD as a doctorate.

You are mistaken, it refers to bachelor's degrees. The source of the data is included in the article, and it actually shows that the percent of bachelor's degrees awarded to women is higher than the percentage of doctorate degrees awarded to women. They also do not include social sciences in their definition, which seemed the most likely explanation to me.

No, that's incorrect. The first chart shows PhD's, the chart directly below it shows "Share of US bachelor's degrees awarded to women/minorities (2014)".

Nah, there's another graph below for bachelor degrees that shows the same thing. Pretty sure it's wrong.

There is another graph behind the graph below the graph that topped the graph about bachelor degrees. That graph is the relevant grah for STEM.

I believe it. They use a definition that includes biological and life sciences. When people talk about the lack of representation of women in STEM, I think they are often focused on engineering and computer science, where women are a relatively small minority. And though they're a large share of graduates in many STEM fields now, that wasn't the case a couple decades ago, so I imagine you still see gaps in terms of tenured professors, etc.

6. The more significant rise in inequality is wealth inequality. And the rise in wealth inequality can be attributed in part to "income" that is based on the rise in the value of assets, including assets such as corporate stock, which has become the principal means of compensating top executives, the rise in the value of stock not included in income tax data unless the stock is sold, using the stock as collateral for loans not a transaction that is taxable and death being the last and most effective form of tax avoidance (although it does come with a downside). Of course, one can believe the selective data of a lower rise in inequality or one can believe one's lying eyes. I have no objection to inequality, unless it reaches a level that creates financial and economic instability, including the instability caused by speculation in asset values as owners of capital seek higher returns through greater risk as the rate of return on productive capital remains flat. As most readers of this blog would agree, markets are efficient, the efficiency extending to correction of imbalances including excessive inequality. Our Austrian friends at Mercatus appreciate the efficiency of markets, but not everyone agrees with them. Does Cowen? Do you? Is Cowen, are you, willing to accept the consequences of a market correction of excessive inequality? I didn't think so. Far easier to pretend excessive inequality doesn't exist, blame lazy poor people and social welfare programs for financial and economic instability when it comes, and and then rely on the Fed to inflate asset values when the inevitable financial collapse occurs. Those who worship at the alter of markets are no less hypocrites than Christians who worship at the alter of the cross.


Why does the relative position of the poor (to the rich) matter more than the absolute position of the poor?

*My standard of living improves (slightly) year over year and I'm better off than 99.9% of the people who've ever graced the face of the earth BUT because that guy over there has so much more than me....oh the horror!*

If your standard of living improves, you are right, but that is not always the same as increased income. If you look at the cost of food in India vs the US or the rent of a house in SF vs Omaha you will see why it matters that people around you have a higher income. You are worse off if you are the only person that can not afford a car since public transportation is available when most people can not.



Why does the relative position of the poor (to the rich) matter more than the absolute position of the poor?

Inequality of opportunity. Particularly, unequal distribution of access to social capital.

Why should we believe that "excessive" inequality is the main driver of financial instability and why is playing Robin Hood the best response to financial instability?

"Income" is not since based on the rise of the value of assets, but rather also an overhead revenue. The great economist Samuel Shepard at Lourdes University has done testing that shows the sad Kropotkin of corporate finance is the DCF cash flow is merely an impression in the plain air sense, but not in the Epicurean modality of prolepsis.

Income is not wealth. Net worth is a measure of wealth. However, net worth depends upon who is asking. One ill provide a different, higher net worth on a loan application than one I would show to Ali Baba (Obama and the 40,000,000 Thieves) or Robin Hood.

One, if the income tax rate was zero, income inequality would persist.

Two, for 100+ years,(since 1913 Federal Reserve Act and federal income tax amendment/legislation, then the 1930's!) the federal government interfered/intervened with/in markets. Yet, income inequality is an expanding problem. Give government more power over markets - Brilliant!

@Rayward Wealth is only good for producing income or goods and services for consumption. For example stocks are only good because they return money to us, through stock buy backs and dividends. If everyone tried to sell, the price would collapse what would be left would be the income/dividends so wealth is less unequal than you think and the income it produces more.

If I am an MD is license to practice wealth, how do you value that? How about a person's anticipated Social Security checks, is that wealth, how do you value that ?

4. "Chetty’s new class, “Using Big Data to Solve Economic and Social Problems"

Those who can't do, teach.

That who can't do either, insult teachers.

or go into Administration

A cute economic anomaly:

We just need to quickly get a book out called "The Fire and Fury of Blockchain" to cash in

@1: Sorry, why is it funny that Marin R. Sullivan can buy a Sol LeWitt bra? (I have never heard of the lady nor of the bra)

I didn't get it either.

I suppose it must be because "Marin R" could be pronounced 'mariner'. A mariner is a seaman. People with semen don't normally wear bras.

Or is that a bit far-fetched?

I believe this is an artistic style joke, but I don't get it.

Thank you for the link.

Just one of them? What's wrong with the other five, you ingrate?

#2. That Peterson video is definitely worth a listen. He provides hope that the academy may yet be salvaged.

Ya reckon?

Harvard gonna Harvard. Wouldn't be the first time they shot themselves in the foot. This isn't over.

Peterson seems like a pretty interesting dude. Jung's power these days is more than we know. All those tests your company gives you that spit out 4 letter answers like ENTP are based on Jung. Plus, whether Jung or Peterson is right on wrong in the long run, they are right that confronting or integrating your "shadow" is really, really, important and what a lot of boys learn to do playing football or hockey.

4. "Economics is infamously unwelcoming to women and minorities [sic]. ...The professor remembers students filing into office hours and telling him, 'I really see myself in these data, in this class.'"

Identity politics rears its ugly, narcissistic head yet again. Of course Asian-Americans like Chetty are more likely to major in economics than even whites, but that doesn't fit the narrative.

3. Virtual reality gyms.
Great, no need to leave the couch.

I once realized I was shapeshifter too. Like many of the Ewu, I grew to be saurian but it was never trivial for me. The growth, CLYDE, but still then it was silent and I chose rather to be a swallow and ended up on the top of a willow tree and my mom and blacksmith stepfather picked me down. As a swallow I could hear the silence fulminate and it was always easier to be fey than to be a lizard, like Rayward, slowly walking step for step, anodyne, and sliding the tail on back. Still I could see the anomie and flew higher until I woke.

4. I'm pleased Chetty's on-line class is popular, but my experience was very different. I took the intro classes in economics when they were taught in a small classroom, not in an auditorium; how economics has changed. And those classes changed my life. Why? Because I kept interrupting the professor with my questions. And he would engage. The lecture method for teaching should be banned, not only from college but from all schools. Students learned when they are engaged, students are motivated when they are engaged. I understand why teachers prefer the lecture method: they are lazy and don't wish to be challenged.

Did you ever bother to ask your fellow students if they found your constant interruptions to be particularly useful to their learning and whether they disliked the lecture method as much as you do, or do you just think that everyone must follow your personal preferences?

Lectures have limits, but I learned tons from good lecturers. Teaching 300 aspiring medical students kinematics, for instance, doesn't require the professor to be challenged.

Also, sometimes the person interrupting was providing a great opportunity for clarity. I don't know what your classes or experiences were like, but usually in my classes, the person challenging and interrupting was either asking for something that either was already answered or seemed likely to be answered later, was because they were really stupid and should have probably not been there, or, was just trying to show how much smarter they were than the lecturer or how much smarter they thought they were than the lecturer. You might have been making your class way better. You might have just been an oblivious jerk.

2. The documentarian is British--not Canadian

#2 The documentary is produced by 'Rebel Wisdom'. First line of their website says "In today’s world, for men to be vulnerable and speak their truth is an act of rebellion. We exist to fuel this rebellion." What the actual F does that mean? Sounds like a great group of folks to hang out with

It means they think men don't complain enough.

2. Now that reminds me. Jordan Peterson is another person you should have on "Conversations...." sometime

I agree. Jordan Peterson would make a great guest on Conversations with Tyler. JP is the sort of person that needs to be understood in longform not soundbites. His ideas are accessible in general but profound enough to require some explanation. A Q&A format would be ideal.

Tabatha Southey is a child.

But she is of course a nobody, so no big deal.

Perhaps you should watch the video Tyler linked to and comment on that.

I don't agree. The article makes a fundamental logical fallacy: just because 2 things have some things in common doesn't mean they have all things in common.

It is true that the alt-right has co-opted some of his articulations, but JP himself is as far from the alt-right as you can get, and has repeated distanced himself from the alt-right.

Think about this way, let's say you believe in something that you know to be right, and can make cogent arguments for it. Let's say the KKK also believes in the same thing (there's an intersection in the Venn diagram), and they make clickbaity videos about you "destroying your opponents with truth". Now you have a PR problem. Should that discredit your arguments?

(He's a recent phenomenon to those in the U.S. but we in Canada--specifically Ontario--have known him from the days from before he was famous, and was just a commentator on a TVO show called The Agenda. Even back in those days he was a scintillating commentator with very sharp observations.)

He's very interesting - if you take the time to actually listen to what he is saying. I recommend listening/watching his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience with Brett Weinstein.

#4: Mediocre VR strapped to an exercise machine won't motivate people to exercise. If full body movement can be used to deliver immersion and experience in a VR game far beyond what you get with traditional VR, maybe a VR/AR laser tag arena, that will be a hit.

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